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SRA April Update

Friday, April 6, 2018

 Thanks to all who attended the April SRA meeting. For those who weren’t able to attend, minutes are attached. 
 
For those of you who sent written complaints about the train, the SRA has filed a formal complaint (also attached) to the Canadian Transportation Agency, which deals primarily with noise issues. On other fronts, we are requesting anyone affected by prolonged blockages at the Prior crossing, particularly users of the 22 bus, to report any blockages over 5 minutes to Transport Canada. Details on how, what and where to report….  Be the squeaky wheel.
 
Tip Line for Trains Blocking the Road

If a train is stopped or shunting for more than 5 minutes at a time, and is blocking a road that someone is waiting to cross, it is against federal regulations and you can report it. Please call Transport Canada’s New Westminster office for Rail Services at (604) 666-0011. Give them the following information:

• location of the crossing (city and intersection/road);
• date and time;
• name of the railway company (In Strathcona, all freight trains are operated by CN Rail)
• what the train was doing and for how long.

If you can let the SRA know you’ve done this so that we can track the issue, that would be great. Email us at trains@strathcona-residents.com

Note that if a train is continuously moving in one direction, it is legally allowed to block an intersection for longer than 5 minutes.
 

 

SRA Meeting Minutes
April 4, 2018
 
 
 

  • Train Working Group. Su-Laine Brodsky reported that the complaint to the CTA about train noise at night (approved at the April meeting) will be sent tomorrow. The next step is to get residents and users of the 22 bus line to call in complaints to Transport Canada. (details below).  It was suggested that she contact New Westminster, which has been dealing with these issues for decades.  Su-Laine requested the following info be added to the minutes…

If a train is stopped or shunting for more than 5 minutes at a time, and is blocking a road that someone is waiting to cross, it is against federal regulations and you can report it. Please call Transport Canada’s New Westminster office for Rail Services at (604) 666-0011. Give them the following information:
• location of the crossing (city and intersection/road);
• date and time;
              • name of the railway company (In Strathcona, all freight trains are operated by CN Rail)
• what the train was doing and for how long.

If you can let the SRA know you’ve done this so that we can track the issue, that would be great. Email us at trains@strathcona-residents.com. 

Note that if a train is continuously moving in one direction, it is legally allowed to block an intersection for longer than 5 minutes.
 

  • Dan Jackson wanted to send letter (see below) regarding concerns about the False Creek Rail Corridor Strategy to various city officials to invite them to the May 2 meeting. A motion made to send the letter (made by Charis, seconded by Wilson) was approved. 

 
To: Mayor, Council, City Manager and City Planners
From: Strathcona Residents Association
Re: False Creek Flats Rail Corridor Strategy 
 
We are casting a wide net with this letter in the expectation that it will find its way to the those in the best position to respond. 
 
We’re writing to bring to your attention a growing concern in the Strathcona neighbourhood about the increase in train traffic along the Burrard Inlet Line. We have received numerous written complaints from residents affected by noise, air pollution, road blockages, cut through traffic and a host of safety issues. We are preparing to file a formal complaint with the Canadian Transportation Agency to address some of these concerns.  
 
In researching this issue, we’ve been reviewing the 2008 False Creek Flats Rail Corridor Strategy which has been integrated into the current False Creek Flats Plan (http://vancouver.ca/docs/eastern-core/rail-corridor-strategy.pdf)  This Strategy, which calls for dividing our neighbourhood with a railroad corridor to allow unimpeded 24/7 rail traffic, does little to address our concerns about living standards, health and safety. It vastly complicates vehicle, bus, bike and foot traffic through our neighbourhood. And these problems will only be exacerbated by upcoming and proposed new residential development directly beside the existing track (such as the soon-to-open 283-unit Strathcona Village.) 
 
Near the conclusion of the 2008 Strategy, we quote the following “Lesson Learned": “if the project proceeds to the next stage, public consultation would be required to determine what the acceptable impacts to the surrounding area would be and a balance between cost and grade reduction would need to be created.” (FCFRCS p 25).  To our knowledge, no public consultation on this subject has ever included the residents of Strathcona. 
 
To begin this conversation, we would like to invite those of you in a position to address these issues to our next monthly meeting (May 2, 7-9 PM) to hear concerns and update residents on the current rail corridor strategy, in light of the current Flats plan, the Centerm port expansion and the breakdown of the CN/CPR co-production agreement.
 
As always, we look forward to hearing from you.
 
 

  • Arterial Working Group. Suki (a.k.a. Susan Anderson Behn) gave an update. 
    • The offer by Bryan Uyesugi of Produce Row (made at the Feb SRA meeting) to join forces in support of the National option was later declined by Phil Wong, point person for Produce Row. 
    • The Community Panel consultant described by Amanda Gibbs (at the March meeting) has yet to be officially hired. 
    • The arterial group met with Dorothy Barkley who was part of the Grandview Woodlands community panel. She reported that the process excluded “knowledge holders”, siloed participants into subgroups and the contractor eventually wrote a 300 page report which panel members were given only a few days to review. In sum: the process was largely bogus. 
    • The working group will continue to monitor once the consultant is named by the city.
    • They are planning a summer event in the park. Details TBA.

 

  • Port Working Group. In Trefor Smith’s absence, Dan gave an update that the group has reached out and gained support from both the Burrardview and Grandview Woodlands Neighbourhood Assocs. to push for a full provincial environmental assessment. Trefor is drafting a new letter to Environmental Minister George Heyman which will be circulated and sent later this month.

 

  • Rick Chen spoke for the emerging hospitality working group. Coffee and treats came tonight from New Town Bakery. She encouraged everyone to wear a name tag and introduce themselves. Be the change. 

 

  • Charis announced a request from the Eastside Cultural Crawl for someone from SRA to be a liaison with their working group supporting artist space in the area. 

 

  • Szuchi Lee, executive director of the Villa Cathay Care Home on George at Raymur gave an update on construction of their 10 story tower. The tower is expected to be complete in mid 2019 and will house 157 seniors. Once completed, the existing facility will be demolished and rebuilt by 2021 to house another 67 seniors, for a total of 224.  The home is planning a media event and open house this coming May.

 

  • Charis reminded everyone about the Neighbourhood Small Grant opportunity. The deadline is April 9.

 

  • Jason Lesage from the Vancouver Buddhist Temple on Jackson and Powell expressed a desire to work more closely with the SRA and residents. He said the temple has a huge gymnasium and potential artist spaces available to the community. 

 

  • Judy McGuire from the Raycam Community Centre gave an update on their redevelopment plan, which was recently unanimously approved by city council. The plan is to build a 12 story building on the existing site which will include a new community centre, social housing and offices for non profits. The goal is to get on the 2018 Capitol Plan with the hope of beginning construction in 2023.

 

  • David Vogt reported the Strathcona Community Policing Centre will be opening its doors this month

 

  • Scott Edwards, manager of public bike share for the city of Vancouver, made a presentation on how the system works. Highlights (and responses to questions)

 

    • Bike share stations have already been installed west of Main and north of 16th throughout west Van. The plan is to expand east to Victoria every 2-3 blocks or 10 per sq km. 
    • There are 130 station installed now. The most used are all on the AAA bike network.
    • There are 1300 bikes and 2500 docks to assure users parking at their destination.
    • The system is run by Vancouver Bike Share, a private company. The city only inspects and approves locations they select.
    • Station are solar powered and moveable. They take up 2 parking spaces or approx. 1% of parking spaces within the 1 sq km area.
    • Downtown, shared bikes served ten times more trips than parking spaces.
    • The bikes are used 80% by locals and 20% by visitors. The amount of one way trips is increasing as the system expands. An SFU study found that 70% of Mobi users owe a bike but use bike share for one way trips or to avoid bike theft. 
    • Despite initial resistance in many areas (False Creek for example), there have been few complaints once the systems are installed. 
    • The plan is to initially install four in Strathcona: On Princess at Union, on Union at Glen, on Hawks at Keefer, on Hawks at Union. A fifth station is planned near the SCC on Keefer near Princess.
    • The city has a new process for blocks requesting residential permit parking. Instead of the previous 2/3 needed, now on ½ plus 1 is required. Guest parking permits are available for residents. Also 2 Hour Parking is allowed even on commercial blocks to restrict commuters from parking and riding into downtown.

 
Several residents complained about the loss of parking. One requested the station at Hawks near Keefer be moved to the park area at Hawks and Georgia where benches were recently removed. Another asked that the station at Union and Glen be located on non residential parking spaces on Glen. Several people commented that Union is already overwhelmed with bike traffic during rush hours and adding more creates safety concerns. 
 
The meeting adjourned at 9 PM.